News 21 Mar 14

Tribunal Rejects Request For Perisic Retrial

The Hague Tribunal has rejected a prosecution motion to reconsider the acquittal of former Yugoslav Army general Momcilo Perisic over war crimes in Sarajevo and Srebrenica.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

In a decision published Thursday, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, rejected a prosecution motion requesting a retrial of Momcilo Perisic.

In February, the prosecution said a new trial was needed “to correct the injustice done to tens of thousands of men, women and children who were killed or wounded in Sarajevo and Srebrenica, and their families, due to the application of a wrong legal principle... in the case against Perisic.”

However, the court decided that “victims' interest in the success of the motion does not constitute a legal basis which would justify granting the motion”.

Perisic was initially found guilty in 2011 of aiding and abetting a military campaign that killed thousands of civilians in Sarajevo, failing to punish subordinates for shelling the city of Zagreb in Croatia, and aiding and abetting crimes committed against Bosniaks in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia.

He was then sentenced to 27 years in prison, but last year the verdict was quashed and he was cleared of the charges.

The prosecution in February said the verdict should be reconsidered because, during the recent trial of four senior Yugoslav state and military officials, the appeals chamber had said legal principles were wrongly applied in the acquittal of Perisic.

This was because the Tribunal had demanded evidence, for the first time, that the general had specifically assisted in the commission of the said crimes.

However, the court ruled that the prosecution had “failed to establish cogent reasons in the interests of justice for departing from the settled jurisprudence of the Tribunal regarding the reconsideration of final judgement.”

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